Terah against terror – insight into violence against
women in Kenya from the front line
By Flora Terah , Human Rights Activist from Meru, Kenya
Violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights-this said we tend to speak a lot rather than to get into action. Every 30 minutes, as we sit in the broad rooms strategizing on eliminating the vice, a woman/girl is raped in Kenya. We have to be proactive, we have to act, we have to save the girl child, there is so much suffering, bitterness, pain in the eyes of these defenseless children, they are not about to give up, they have decided to not only speak out but also take action.
I worked as a community activist at North Imenti where I was born and brought up, I trained on HIV/AIDS a disease that was spreading like bush fire then. Policymaking was not really so much on my agenda then; as I trained and listened to my community I realized they truly knew what they wanted. They wanted change, they no longer wanted to be bank votes, they wanted to address political patronage, ’’’we want our leader to be accountable ’’’this they said to me. We have chosen you to represent us in Parliament, we will campaign and vote for you ’’.I was skeptical but I could no longer stand at the periphery and watch as my people suffer. This was not to be, I was tortured, beaten and left for the dead, reason, I dared run for office as a woman! This did not kill my spirit, it only made me stronger, I thirst for justice for my people, I want my people to be free! And like the biblical Moses, I keep on saying ‘’’let the women go, stop violence against us’’.
A new constitution was officially promulgated last month, finally ushering in the new republic of Kenya. 160 girls in Kenya have decided to seek redress for violence through litigation, the most honorable thing we can do is to support them, to walk with them, show them that there the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Equality Effect has come at the right time, a time that Kenya is restructuring and cleaning the judiciary of corruption, a time that everyone around the world is watching to see transformational of social justice. If our leaders can support Mau Mau movement (freedom fighters) to reclaim their rights, the torture and rape during the colonial era, why won’t they support these custodians of our future?
Finally remember it’s no longer about them, it’s about us, violence knows no sex, race, as no borders let us all unite and end violence against women together.
Flora Terah is a human rights advocate from Meru, Kenya. Flora ran as the Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency of Meru, Kenya in the 2007 Kenyan elections. Flora has written a book about the violence she experienced because she was a woman that dared to run for public office entitled “They Never Killed My Spirit, But They Killed My Only Child”. Flora’s book can be ordered by contacting Flora at: firstname.lastname@example.org.